CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 24.
Jeremiah tells the story that the Lord showed him two baskets of figs at the temple (verse 1). One basket had good, ripe figs; and the other basket has rotten figs that could not be eaten (verse 2).
The Lord, in classic Hebrew style, tests – or interviews – Jeremiah’s knowledge and understanding of what he has noticed. He asks, “What do you see?” And Jeremiah says, “Figs, a basket of good ones and a basket of rotten ones” (verse 3).
The Lord tells Jeremiah that this is correct, and then gives the explanation of what these things represent (verse 4). He says that the good figs represent those who will be carried away captive to be protected from further corruption (verse 5). He says that He will not forget these people, and that they will be nourished with His words, and raised up in righteousness until they are ripe to be gathered again for restoration (verse 6).
I will give them a heart to know me,
that I am the Lord:
and they shall be my people,
and I will be their God:
for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
But the evil figs, He says, represent those who are so corrupted that they have nothing good to offer the people around them (verse 8). These people are the leaders of Israel who should have been nourishing the people, providing for them, protecting them, and raising them in righteousness as a nation. They will be punished not only for what they have done wrong, but also for the good they have failed to do, and all the people will know this and they will be an example of what not to do (verse 9). They will be consumed by their own foolish choices, just like the destruction they caused (verse 10).